Saturday, May 6, 2017

Table TOP Math: Integrating Math, Art, and Vocabulary

Math vocabulary is like spinach.

While good for you, in some circles, both have been known to have a less-than-stellar reputation.

I'm not one of those parents who feels the need to sneak vegetables into my kids. Vegetables are just part of life, a rich part of our daily eating habits. For example, we make lasagna more flavorful, more colorful, more nutritious, and more interesting with spinach or kale.

Math vocabulary is no different. I don't feel a need to isolate math vocabulary, shoving a piece of plain, cooked spinach down anyone's throat. Math vocabulary is what we do all the time. It's part of the environment in a rich, mathematical life. It helps us to communicate our thinking with precision. Like exercise, the more we utilize vocabulary, the more natural it becomes.

I love finding activities that naturally invite a wide variety of mathematical vocabulary, preferably while having fun and integrating subjects like art. We found a perfect candidate in Table TOP Math.

Students make tops, designed to spin on tables. As they fold their creations, they describe what they notice with observations like:
  • 4 equal angles
  • 4 sides
  • opposite sides parallel
  • 2 sets of sides with equal lengths
  • angles: right, acute
They also give names to the shapes they observe:
  • polygon
  • quadrilateral
  • rectangle
  • parallelogram
  • trapezoid

Then, they try different coloring techniques, integrating art. What a great opportunity to experiment with design and guess what each will look like as it spins. Watch a few examples...

Table TOP Math available here
You could make math vocabulary an integral part of any origami folding project. Pick something with fairly simple folds that your students will enjoy, and apply vocabulary along the way.

If you're interested in Table TOP Math, it is now available as a *new* product at a marked discount. ENJOY!!!

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